12-06-2011, 03:58 PM
Dear Mr. Piccucci:
This is to inform you that your account is past due. Please pay in full as soon as possible. If you have already paid, please disregard this notice.
Thank you for your consideration.
Michael Piccucci, Jr., disregarded the notice, though he had not paid in full. It was the story of his life, it seemed. He and his wife, Pamela, had been practically living on credit, just like millions of others who wanted to achieve the American Dream on the installment plan. The house was mortgaged to the hilt three times over, and the cars were one overdue payment away from getting repoed. There was nothing the Piccuccis had, inside or out, that was fully paid for, not even the groceries. By procrastination and creative bookkeeping, Michael and Pamela kept their heads above water, though just barely enough to breathe. Yet the creditors were not satisfied; they hounded the Piccuccis relentlessly, informing them in chillingly polite tones that payment was due and if no action was taken, they would have no choice but to resort to a collection agency. For Michael, Jr., the only thing standing between him and total bankruptcy was his father, or, rather, his father's fortune.
He had tried hitting the old man for money countless times in the past, and had been turned down countless times. What the hell do you think I am, a bank? Why can't you go into business for yourself, like I did? You can't go sponging off me like that! I worked for my money, you know!
Yeah, Dad "worked" for his money, all right. He worked over those casino and nightclub owners but good, shaking them down for "protection" money or whatever, taking a big chunk of the profits and depositing them overseas. How much was he worth now? Five million? Six million? Only God and Dad's lawyer, Richard Close, knew for sure. He knew for certain that when Pop kicked the bucket, he, Michael Antonio Piccucci, Jr, stood to inherit everything. He was the only son and legitimate heir, after all. That (bleep) he had married, that former stripper that had caught his fancy thirty years ago, Tina LaRue (which was obviously a stage name; Michael wondered what her real name had been), was a gold-digger of the first order who sank her blood-red claws into him and made him sign a pre-nup which would have cleaned the old man out when they got divorced, had it not been for Richard Close, Dad's lawyer, who found a few convenient loopholes and saved the family fortune. Tina got her cut after the hearing, considerably less than she had bargained for; he recalled how she had stormed out of the courtroom, probably on the hunt for a new sugar daddy, while Pop managed to get out of the deal with his shirt on.
Yet, Tina didn't give up. Once she heard that Pop was on his last legs, she came roaring back on the scene, demanding her "fair share" of the estate. No dice, said Close, you're persona non grata; you lost out on the deal when you divorced your husband. You got your settlement, now get outta here.
So what did that little gold-digger do? She went and tried to get her divorce annulled so she would be his "legal widow" and claim his estate! What a joke! No way on God's green earth was she going to get away with that, not if he could help it! He was the sole heir to the estate, and that was that.
Michael looked at the pile of bills on the desk. If only the old man would die already. He and Pamela would be set for life. The wolves at the door would be fed, and there'd be some left over to set them up for life. Maybe take that cruise they'd always wanted. Send the kids to some Ivy League college. Relax and enjoy life instead of worrying about money.
Or he could ditch the wife and kids and enjoy life himself, with that little blond bombshell he'd been seeing on the side. Jessie was hot, hot, hot, and she delivered the goods like no one else, not even Pamela, who was getting long in the tooth and baggy up front, anyway. It was time to upgrade. If only the old man would die...